SEQUIM — At 126 years, Sequim’s annual Irrigation Festival is still going strong — even in mostly virtual mode.
The community festival is now in its 126th year with the theme “A Place For You to Rome.”
With some COVID-related restrictions still in place, most of the 2021 Irrigation Festival events have been moved to May 8.
The Innovative Arts and Crafts Fair will be held in person from 11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. on Cedar Street across from the Sequim Civic Plaza.
The rest of the weekend’s events are virtual-only, including the Crazy Daze Breakfast (8-8:30 a.m.), Family Fun Day (12:30-2 p.m.), Past Royalty Luncheon (2-2:30 p.m.), logging show (3 p.m.), car show (4 p.m.), grand parade (5 p.m.) and fireworks show (6 p.m.).
View the virtual events and find more information at irrigationfestival.com.
Grand Pioneers Judy Markley and Dave Cameron, Honorary Pioneers Richard “Dick” Parker and Emily Westcott, and Grand Marshal Amanda Beitzel join this year’s irrigation Festival royalty — queen Hannah Hampton and princesses Allie Gale, Zoee Kuperus and Sydney Van Proyen — in helping the community celebrate this years festival.
Here a little more about this year’s dignitaries:
• Judy Markley
“I was born in Sequim in the hospital west of 101 Diner. Lived here all my life, except in the 1980s for seven years in Anchorage. Sequim has always been special as well as the Irrigation Festival.
“From an early age, fifth grade and up, our class built several floats with our teachers, parents and grandparents involved. Later on I worked on the queen’s floats and then my Red Hat friends and I built three floats, winning awards.
“Early I learned to tap dance and twirl a baton, for school and many of the parades — Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Sequim and Seattle. There were six in the group to begin with. By 1954 there were three of us left. I performed in clogging, too.
“I have been on the Pioneer Committee twice. The last year was the end of the three-year sign-up. My generation had such a wonderful time and place to grow up. We had more Moms and Dads looking out for us. It did take a village!
“My mother and her sister were in the royalty in 1933-1935. My mother a princess, my aunt Kate queen. I was a princess two years, in 1953 and 1954
• Dave Cameron
“My parents, Dave and Shirley (Cays) Cameron, were dairy farming next to the Dungeness River at the end of Hendrickson Road when I was born. My cousin Nancy Hutt owns part of the property now.
“Our family moved to California during my school years, returning in 1968. Dad managed Blue Ribbon Farm out near the Voice of America.
“We grew crops, had cattle and Dad started strawberries there. I helped him and had a couple side jobs, too.
“I entered Peninsula College’s fisheries program, but after I married another pioneer descendant, Sidne Brown, we moved to Ellensburg for two years for her to get a teaching certificate.
“When we returned to Sequim, I raised cattle, grew seed crops, made hay. My brother Pete worked with me when he came home from college. I held some side jobs at that time, too.
“I was a ditchwalker for a couple years, drove school bus, and later began my own livestock hauling business. I served as District 3 Commissioner and Clallam County commissioner.
“When Dad passed away in 1996, I took over the strawberry business for another 20 years.
• Richard ‘Dick’ Parker
“I was born in Port Angeles in 1937 and raised in Forks. I graduated from Forks High school in 1957, moved to Renton and went to work at Boeing.
“I met Crystal Shaughnessy and we were married Oct. 10, 1959. Crystal was raised in Sequim and graduated in 1958 from Sequim High School. We lived in Renton for eight years.
“In 1974 I took a job with the City of Sequim where I became the Director of Public works. I spent 22 years in that position retiring in 1995.
“We have two daughters, three grandchildren, we lost one grandchild, and we have four great-grandchildren.”
• Emily Westcott
“I was born and raised in Tacoma. I lived and taught school in Olympia for 11 years. I moved to Sequim in September of 1979 because I got the job of vice principal at Port Angeles High School. It was a pretty big adjustment moving to a small isolated area from a busy capital city. But I adjusted and love it here.
“During the last 40 years I was a vice principal and then a teacher at Choice Alternative school in Port Angeles. I retired from the PA School District in 1998.
“I also owned the Red Ranch Restaurant for 20 years. It was during this time that I learned to fly and got my pilot’s license in 1996. I love it; it was the smartest thing I ever did. I also substitute teach in Sequim.
“Over this course of years I’ve become very active as a volunteer maintaining the beauty of Sequim.
“My goal is to make Sequim bright and beautiful for all who live here and fly around in my little plane.”
• Amanda Beitzel
“I came into this beautiful world kicking and screaming in August 1943, a war baby. My mother’s favorite recollection of my birth was, ‘It was the hottest day of the year.’ ” This forecast was repeated in every birthday phone call throughout my adult years, so I would not to forget the joy of my birth.
“Volunteering and sewing have been my focus in Sequim. I started the local Fiber Arts Neighborhood Group in Sequim in the late 1990s, which is alive and well today. I helped when Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church started the Dungeness Valley Health and Wellness Clinic and was president of their board for three years.
“In March 2020, as a response to the sudden shortage of much-needed PPE for healthcare workers due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Monica Dixon asked me to sew masks. Soon that need was being met by dozens of sewists throughout the county, and I was redirected to making a prototype gown for doctors and nurses in OMC who needed cloth gowns during the PPE shortage. The work evolved to recruiting others to sew, asking friends and neighbors to donate their gently used sheets to serve as material for the gowns, and collecting and delivering the finished gowns, all in addition to making dozens of gowns.